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carnitas tacos with garnishes of radish, jalapeno and lime

Braised Carnitas Tacos

A slightly healthier twist on traditional fried pork carnitas, this Dutch oven carnitas recipe is every bit as satisfying.
5 from 6 votes
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Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours
Total Time: 3 hours 10 minutes
Servings: 4 -6


  • 3-4 lb pork butt or shoulder , cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 onion , thinly sliced
  • 3-4 garlic cloves , peeled
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 3 cups water or chicken broth
  • corn tortillas and desired toppings


  • Pre-heat the oven to 375ºF.
  • Add all the ingredients to a Dutch oven and season with salt and pepper. Bring stock to a boil, then remove from heat and cover with a lid, and place in oven to bake for 2 hours.
  • Remove lid and cook over medium heat for another 30 minutes or so, until most of the liquid has evaporated and the pork has somewhat caramelized. Make sure not to stir the meat too much while it finishes cooking, so the meat can caramelize.
  • Shred more if desired and serve in tortillas or over rice and beans.


I used a pork shoulder this time around, but you can also use pork butt as well, and both yield equally good results. The shoulder is just what the butcher had on hand and he recommended as the best that day.
During the last 30 minutes of cooking, be sure not to stir the pork carnitas too much. You want the meat to caramelize slightly on the bottom, and stirring will prevent this from happening.
If you have leftover carnitas, reheat in the microwave or a lightly oiled skillet.


Calories: 478kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 65g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 204mg | Sodium: 870mg | Potassium: 1370mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 19IU | Vitamin C: 15mg | Calcium: 83mg | Iron: 5mg
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